My first name IS John, and I was born in England about a month before this album debuted. It doesn't mean anything, so no need to read into those unrelated facts.
So… I was going to tell you a tale about my 'masked depression', which we discussed yesterday (HERE) … a non-clinical sadness that I tried to lift by first drinking (that never works - see small sampling behind the chain in the photo above) and then with mostly meaningless sexual romps (way more fun).
But it does speak volumes about the group of individuals, however.
This story takes place in Year 1 of my stay in Japan (1990-91), and could probably be called The Iseya Girls, or The Interchangeable Iseya Girls, but I have The Beatles on my mind today.
I suppose I could go and look in my diary to find an exact date, but does it really matter? Probably Spring of 1991, and Ashley has, once again, broken up with me. Whatever.
I'm down. But I'm not out. I've been going to the local bar with nightly regularity, and have been meeting people… sometimes my gaijin (foreigner) friends, other times Japanese strangers in a bar.
I'll remind everyone that I don't speak Japanese. A month into 1991 my grandfather died, my cat died, and a friend died - all back in Toronto. Again, these aren't meant to be anything more than just facts to set the mood. I'm not myself.
I don't even know who I am.
At the bar, the men are always friendly and courteous and simply want to find out more about me—as I want to find out about them… as well, they also want to try out their English language skills. I learned about so many professions and real Japanese thoughts and feelings during these chats, that it was eye-opening.
As for toe-curling… well, that's where the Japanese women came in.
Now… since I am usually alone in a bar, one could rightly assume that I am bereft of a significant other… and in my case, they would be correct.
Everyone knew that I was boyfriend/girlfriend with Ashley, even if Ashley liked to believe it was a secret. It was a secret… a secret as safe as me looking good in shorts! (I do).
So basically, everyone also seemed to know whenever she and I had broken up, and thus when it was safe to approach the generally very approachable me.
As for the Iseya Girls… sorry… Iseya Women…
Iseya… is the largest and busiest of the superstores in my hometown of Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture) Japan…
It's a grocery story—and a large one at that—and then outside its food and beverage confines, it has large volumes of clothing, adventure gear, toys, flower shops, dry cleaning, camera and film services and much more.
This story is about the women who worked the counter at the camera shop.
A few months after arriving in Japan, I had gone through the three boxes of condoms I had brought with me, and tried to use a Japanese condom.
Without being too specific, I had one on, and it snapped off and hit a surprised Ashley in the face. There is a marked difference between the average size of a Japanese condom and a North American one.
To illustrate that, I blew up a couple of the respective condoms (spermicide is not something I enjoyed having on my lips!), and snapped a couple of photographs with my old trusty Minolta and the added 50mm lens.
Back in those days, cameras used film... and in order to get something called a photograph (that's the photographic image actually printed onto photographic paper, as opposed to just being an image on a screen), I had to take the roll of film in to a shop to have it developed.
At one time (journalism school), I knew how to develop my own film, but not here in Japan.
Anyhow... a week after dropping off some film at Iseya, two giggling female Japanese counter clerks came running over—practically fighting each other to find my envelope of film. Seriously... they were slapping at each other.
I've seen Japanese people avoid having to serve me, the foreigner, for fear of exposing their non-English skills, but I've not had two very sexy, cute and slender Japanese women fight over me.
Reserved Japanese, my butt!
One of the things the clerks do before handing over the photographs—in Japan—is that they open it up, and pull out a photograph so that you can identify the images as belonging to you.
Giggling like girls, these women opened up the envelope and deftly pulled up the photographs of the condom balloons.
Hey... at least they knew what they were!
"One of them pointing to the larger North American condom and smoothly asked: "Yours?"
Here it was.
I was embarrassed, and physically slapped my forehead, as I muttered "Hai (yes)."
"Sugai" they both muttered in that Ohtawara-dialect. It's a slangy way of saying "neat, wonderful."
"Garufrendo arimasu ka?"
Do you have a girlfriend?
I smirked and shook my head 'no'.
"Goo-doh" I'd swear they said in unison.
They started talking Japanese amongst themselves, did some rock-scissors paper, one of them groaned, and the other bounced high in the air as she placed the envelope of photographs into a bag and handed it to me with a demurred bow.
I bowed as I reached for the package, and turned to walk away.
"Bye-byeeeee" they both squealed, as I turned around to smile, seeing each wave furiously.
I did the rest of my shopping, and left Iseya and rode home.
I thought briefly about the two strange Iseya girls... their nice very light brown skin - and I wondered if I should ask one of them out - but how do I do that?
I can't speak much Japanese... I've pretty much shot the bolt here in this blog.
Regular readers will know that over the course of my entire three year stay in Japan, I have only ever asked out one woman while in Japan—Noboko. Most of the other 29+ I dated (29 slept with), I met at the 4C bar.
There... it was like someone must have had one of those ticket machines:
"Now serving number 47."
And someone new would come to jump into my bed.
But these Iseya girls... they were different.
They knocked on my door. Rang the doorbell actually, but the knock on my door line sounds more impressive.
Each time they showed up, and it wasn't a weekly thing, it was just one of them... I don't how they determined who would show up—perhaps more rock-scissors-paper—but it was always right after a work shift for them.
They never showed up when anyone else was at my place - like they knew my schedule - and I couldn't figure their schedule either... was it cutie #1's turn, or cutie #2's turn? Sometimes #2 would come two times in a row (always good)...
Each of the girls was like a carbon copy of the other, but they didn't look like the typical Japanese woman. Their one major discerning feature was their hair.
They were the typical naughty Japanese girls with red hair - okay, it was kind of orangey, but it was short, like it was homemade chopped, with a touch of blue and pink in a spot or two.
Each was 5'-5", slender, with small boobs, a nice enough rump, and looooooong legs.
Each had a 'coolness'-factor about them... I think it was the hair... they weren't divas, and were simply nice girls who wanted to appear different from the rest of the Japanese sheeple.
I always had a great time with them, but I was stymied by the fact neither spoke a lick of English - which was weird… I mean… these girls were 20 and 21-years-old… they had only just finished high school four years ago at the most. It's like they had spoken every English word earlier at the store.
That first time (and every time after that), the doorbell would ring.
Surprised the first (and second time), I opened the door to see her.
Without waiting for an invitation, she would enter my apartment, wait until the door closed and then would lunge at me and try to suck my tongue out of my head… which, while I'm sure that sounds hot to some, I hate that.
Swirl the tongue - lightly, with passion - don't inhale it. Don't try and jam it down my throat either. Too many people think it's about force and control - well it is… just not the way you think it is.
Bad French kissing aside, there would be a break for air, a stripping of her clothes, which I started doing too, but she pushed me away, continued taking off her clothes and stepped into my shower - very visible from the interior entrance of my front door.
A few minutes later, wrapped in a towel I handed to her, she quickly dried off and then headed off, twisting herself around me, as I swirled around the place to push her onto my Queen-sized bed.
As mentioned, I slept with each separately, despite a lot of my non-Japanese language skills to convince them otherwise.
It was just sex. No expectations of commitment.
It was fun, and, really, I think they each just wanted to sleep with a foreigner just to say they had slept with a foreigner.
Afterwards, despite a few lascivious looks, and continued battles of rock-scissors-paper, I wasn't treated any differently, never got any free prints developed—mostly because they were clerks, not shop owners—and would, as the mood struck them continue to come over to my apartment until they didn't. I assume they got boyfriends, or they knew I was seeing someone else.
Like I said... no jealousy... just fun.
The romps weren't anything spectacular, but they were, and each was enthusiastic and willing to take direction, so what more could I ask? Maybe better kissing, but whatever.
Each of us served their purpose. Everyone walked away satisfied…sometimes with a funny walk.
What's the problem?
Yesterday I alluded to me suffering from "masked depression". But was it really? Couldn't I have just wanted to get laid without there being any sort of deep-rooted psycho-babble at the heart of darkness about it all?
Can't a cigar just be a cigar?
Can't a shovel simply be a shovel? Or can it also be a fugging spade?
Well… it can be. It can be both.
Despite being young and mostly immature, I knew what I wanted and what I really desired.
I wanted sex - sure. But I desired someone with whom I could share myself with on a deeper level.
So yeah… I suppose this sexcapade - lacking in physical description - was just that.
You'll note that there are no names for the Iseya women. In fact… aside from the women whom I felt worthy of achieving a deeper level with, none of the women ever have names.
It's okay… 1/4 century later, while I can at least remember them, I'm sure I've not been thought about by them in years.
I have to think like that every once in a while… keeps the ego in check.
Somewhere just looking for a distraction,